Friday, April 22, 2005
UC Tejas A

Present: Bickley, Buck, Canales, Causgrove, Cook, Friday, Garcia, Harper, Hill, Ivy, Layman, Ledbetter, Melrose, Morvant, Shepperd, Sutton, Waheed, Winston, Wooster, Zebda

Guests: Fugate, Murray, Talley, Steward, Oliver, Thomas, Willman

Absent: Byus, Carroll, Maurstad, Purdy, Yellen

I. Call to order & review of the minutes of the March 25 meeting.

Ivy called the meeting to order at 2:07 p.m. She welcomed newly elected Senators Talley, Hartlaub, Fugate, Steward, Oliver, Cook, Ledbetter, Buck, Thomas, and Willman.

The minutes of the March 25, 2005 meeting were unanimously approved with one change.

II. Committee reports.

A. Academic Affairs.

1. Action Item: Recommendations on review of catalog copy.

Morvant: introduced the changes the Committee recommends as described in the packet. The Committee proposes to review only substantive changes to catalog copy. They will create guidelines describing substantive changes. They further propose a two year cycle for catalog revision in order to give the Committee more time to consider other, equally important, issues. There was discussion of the roles played by Faculty Senate and by the Graduate Council in reviewing catalog copy as well as of the benefits of a two year cycle for catalog publication. The decision was made to vote on the two recommendations separately. The vote for the Committee to review only substantive changes to the catalog passed unanimously. A friendly amendment was made to the Committee's second recommendation that called for removing the statement about changes being posted to the web site with the exception of state or federally mandated changes. The vote for the second recommendation with amendments was 11 for, 5 opposed, and 1 abstention. The motion passed.

2. Discussion Item: Plus/Minus grading system.

Morvant introduced a request from the Honors Program Committee that a plus-minus grading system be implemented for honors students and not for regular students. After some discussion of the Honors Program Committee's intentions in making this request as well as of its merits, Morvant passed around a recommendation that next year's Senate Academic Affairs Committee take this up and ask the Honors Program Committee to submit a full proposal. Senate accepted this recommendation.

3. Year end report.

The Committee recommends that their survey about workload be readministered in a way that generates a higher response. They further recommend that colleges to whom workload reallocation is a high priority make individual recommendations to their Chairs and Deans.

Ivy thanked Morvant and the Academic Affairs Committee members for all their work, especially because they had so much to do this year.

B. Awards/Bylaws/Elections Committee.

1. Action Item: Bylaws revisions.

Melrose reported that most of the changes the Committee recommends to the Bylaws are being made simply to bring the document in to alignment with current practice. After some discussion, section I.D.3. was stricken from the recommended changes. The Senate then voted unanimously to accept the rest of the recommended changes.

2. Year-end Report.

Melrose reported that the Committee suggests that the next Awards/Bylaws/Elections Committee set University award due dates early enough in the year to have them placed in the packets distributed to faculty members at the faculty meeting preceding the first day of classes. The Committee further recommends that language be written into the Bylaws that addresses a situation when not enough nominations are received to fill empty Senate seats

Ivy thanked Melrose and the Awards/Bylaws/Elections Committee members for all their work this year.

C. Budget Committee.

1. Discussion/Action Items.

Zebda thanked all members of the Committee for their work this year. He also thanked Wooster, Shepperd, Canales, and Purdy, who he asked to join the Senate. He appreciates their accepting his invitation to run and their work during their terms.

He thanked the Provost for taking time to work with the Committee.

a. Increase Summer School compensation.

Canales presented the action item including a survey that the Committee conducted of other school's summer school compensation policies then she asked for discussion. The Senate voted unanimously to approve the action item.

b. Support for academic programs.

Friday presented the action item based on the Committee's analysis of spending on athletics. The Senate voted unanimously to approve the action item.

c. Miramar apartments.

Garcia presented the action item resolving that the Senate ask the Administration to take action to increase payments by Camden Miramar Apartments to the University. In response to a question from Waheed, Friday reported that the University's lease of land to Camden for the Miramar apartments is for 35 years. The Senate voted unanimously to approve the action item.

2. Year-end Report.

Zebda introduced the Committee's report on and analysis of the University budget, particularly expenditures on athletics. The Committee voiced its objections to funds (especially tuition increases) being reserved to cover athletic budget shortfalls rather than being used for salary adjustments. He went on to describe the Committee's analysis of and subsequent objection to the small size of the funds being paid to the University by Camden. The Committee feels that although Camden has been increasing the amount of their payments to the University, they should be providing still more funds for scholarships than an average of $100,000 per year. The Committee's third issue was with the allocation of the $1 million for merit raises. They object to using funds from this pool for merit raises to positions in units that generate their own funds, for example the Harte Research Institute and the Performing Arts Center. They object to the higher growth in non-faculty positions over faculty positions. They point to their data that show that faculty salaries are falling behind the averages for both masters I institutions and aspiration institutions according to CUPA data. They object to the institutional investment polices that led to the drop in value of a major endowment for the creation of a College of Business building and they suggest that the University make additional efforts to obtain endowed chairs and professorships.

Ivy commended the tremendous work of the Budget Analysis Committee, particularly Zebda and Friday's work.

D. Committee on Committees.

1. Year-end Report.

Ivy presented the Committee's Year End Report. Both of the charges made to the Committee at the beginning of the year are still in progress. The system for recommendations for committee appointments is being worked on and will continue to be worked on throughout the summer because of the fluidity of the system for making them. The smoking restricted campus issue is also in progress. A joint task force (on which Senators sit as well as representatives from Staff Advisory Council and the Student Government Association) resulted from their work. This Task Force is working on a proposal for a thirty foot non-smoking area around each building entrance, keeping smoking out of memorial areas, and establishing 5 smoking zones. Results will depend upon things like the results of the budgeting process in the Legislature.

Ivy thanked the Committee for all their hard work.

E. Faculty Affairs Committee.

Action Item: Recommendations on Leave Policies.

Cook presented the Committee's proposed changes to System Leave Policies for Senate discussion and vote. If approved, they will be forwarded on to the Provost. The first proposed change is the addition of the words "applied experience" to the third paragraph of section 1.1.2 of System Regulation 12.99.01, Faculty Development Leave. The second proposed change is the addition of the words "Paid leave will begin at the same date the employee is eligible for medical benefits. Paid leave will be granted to any faculty member who is the primary caretaker for his or her newborn or newly adopted child at least 20 hours per week, from Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m." The Senate voted unanimously to approve the action item.

2. Year-end Report.

Cook presented the Committee's Year End Report of their work this year including child-care, faculty leave, and the chairs' policy.

Ivy thanked the Committee for their hard work this year

III. Provost's report.

Harper reported that University is a masters I level institution at this point in time, with the goal of reaching the doctoral/research intensive level. A SAC Substantive Change, which is in progress, is required to reach this level, as is meeting a minimum number of doctoral graduates per year.

She doesn't agree that the University has done a poor job of keeping up with faculty salaries across the state or the nation as the data presented today indicate. We are doing a better job than other state schools at giving salary increases, she said, and she suggested that using a median rather than an average might give a clearer picture of progress. She based her comments on recent (March 2005) CUPA data.

Most current Senators have been nominated to a working group or task force for the Momentum 2015 initiative. If any Senators know of someone who wishes to participate in a working group and hasn't been appointed to one yet, she asks that Senators please nominate them.

She recently returned from the THECB meeting. There was no clear indication of what the outcome the current Legislature's deliberations will be. This probably won't come for another six weeks or so.

Harper was asked the meaning of excellence, engagement, and expansion. She replied that it was explained in the letters of nomination to the working groups saying that information was forwarded to everyone who was invited to participate. Ivy added that if anyone wants to see it, she has it and will make it available. Harper mentioned that it has been suggested that a web site be used to communicate between working groups since the work of one group will impact the work of others.

A motion to extend the meeting was unanimously approved.

Harper was asked about progress in the Science and Technology Dean's search. In response, she said that they were not successful in getting the two recommended candidates that were needed so they're going to extend the search. She was asked about an interim dean and responded that the announcement of the extension will include a call for nominations for interim dean.

Ivy thanked both Harper and Winston for coming to meetings and their input over the year.

IV. Speaker's report.

A. Momentum 2015.

Ivy asked if anyone had questions about Momentum 2015. In response to a question about the time line, Harper responded that it's aggressive. Working groups will be expected to use the knowledge that we have and the resources that are readily available to us to produce a one page first draft of no more than five major initiatives (one per working group) by May 17. Further drafts will occur over the summer with a final draft will be due on August 15. In response to another question, Ivy described the structure of the working groups. There was discussion of the process by which both the initiatives and the information about the working groups was communicated as well as the need for transparency in the process.

B. Year-end financial report & 5% budget reduction request.

Ivy presented the Senate Budget Report including the Senate's reaction to the request for a five percent budget reduction request.

C. Representative on Calendar Committee.

Ivy thanked Sutton for serving as the Senate's representative to the Calendar Committee. Then she announced that the Provost's Council had voted to keep the 2006-07 calendar as it is published in the website and later on revisit other changes like the final exam schedule and restructuring class length and schedule. Finally, she asked for volunteers to represent Senate on the Calendar Committee during 2005-06. There were no volunteers so the issue was tabled.

D. Consideration of Emeritus Professor Status.

The Senate considered a proposal to award emeritus status to Dr. Richard Haswell. The Senate voted unanimously to approve the proposal.

Harper commented that past practice has been to award emeritus status to those faculty members who are fully retired and not to those who are working half time.

V. Other Business.

A. Retirement of outgoing Senators.

Ivy thanked Alnor for her service to the Senate. She then thanked the members of the Senate Executive Committee, Linda Cook, Swint Friday, Don Melrose, Mark Morvant, Sarah Sutton and Awni Zebda, for their service. She thanked the outgoing Senators for their service and presented them with certificates of appreciation.

The outgoing Senators departed the meeting.

B. Official seating of incoming Senators.

Incoming Senators Fugate, Hartlaub, Oliver, Stewart, Talley, Thomas and Willman took their seats at the table. Ivy welcomed the new Senators.

C. Elections of officers for 2005-2006.

Nominations for Ivy for Speaker of the Senate had been received by Melrose, chair of the Awards, By-laws and Elections Committee. Ivy was elected Speaker by acclamation. Nominations were taken for Deputy Speaker, with Friday and Cooke being nominated. Friday was elected Deputy Speaker. Bickley was elected Secretary by acclamation. Ledbetter agreed to be parliamentarian.

D. Committees for 2005-2006.

The Executive Committee of the Senate consists of the 3 officers and 3 to 4 at-large members of the Senate. Nominations for Executive Committee at-large members were: Buck, Waheed, Garcia, Friday. A motion was made to approve these 4 to serve on the Executive Committee.

Senators then volunteered for committee assignments and chose chairs for those committees.

VI. Announcements/Adjournment.

A request was made to start Senate meetings at 1 p.m. instead of 2 p.m., in order to end earlier. A number of Senators would not have been able to make a 1 p.m. start, so Senate meetings will begin at 2 p.m.

Ivy asked Senators to attend the half day Summer Retreat later in the summer to prioritize issues for the Senate to work on during the next academic year.

The meeting was adjourned.